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Screenagers Launches Initiative to Get Cell Phones out of Middle Schools

  (April 10, 2018)

SEATTLE, April 10, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The team from the award-winning documentary, Screenagers: Growing Up in the Digital Age has developed the "Away For The Day" (AFTD) initiative to help transform middle schools into cell phone-free spaces. In just one week we have received more than 2,800 pledges of support and multiple emails from people who are making changes thanks to the Initiative.

Through the thousands of Screenagers' film events we hear from parents, teachers, and principals that cell phones are creating a huge distraction in middle schools and people want change.

Dr. Delaney Ruston, a physician and filmmaker who created Screenagers, approaches screen time issues from an evidence-based perspective. When she discovered there were no studies on cell phone policies in schools, she and the Screenagers team decided to conduct a national survey on cell phone policies in schools and parental preferences. We learned that 55% of middle schools let students carry phones all day yet 82% of parents do not want their kids using phones at school.

We have looked deeply into the scientific literature and have found several concerning studies about academic performance and emotional well-being regarding cell phones in middle schools. To find solutions, the Screenagers' team talked with dozens of middle schools that recently changed from allowing students to carry phones to adopting "Away For The Day" policies. They heard almost exclusively positive stories about the changes. From there, the "Away For The Day" initiative was born.

Tom Henriod, a father in Salt Lake City, is leading the charge to get cell phones out of schools in his district. "I have had meaningful correspondence with a principal and assistant principal and the materials on 'Away For The Day' have really addressed their concerns associated with enacting a policy-—such as giving them clear policy examples and enforcement procedures."

"Yes, cell phones can be tools—calculators, flash cards, etc.—and yes it takes some energy to keep them put away in middle schools, but I am 100% convinced that for the sake of our students, it is worth it and truly doable." —Delaney Ruston, MD and Screenagers' filmmaker

If you are interested in interviewing Dr. Ruston or finding out more about the "Away For The Day" initiative, Contact Lisa Tabb or call 415-482-8726.


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